Weekend Hangover: No Khan Do

By Mutaurwa Mapondera on July 16, 2012
Weekend Hangover: No Khan Do
Amir "King" Khan’s bravado is rare at the elite level in this era of boxing. (Ed Mulholland)

We knew Khan’s chin had been dented in the past, but no one expected this, and that’s what’s great about boxing…

Most Shocked: Everyone
Despite what the plague of armchair experts that emerge after every upset would have you believe, no one saw Danny Garcia’s victory over Amir Khan coming, especially with the devastating and conclusive finish we got on Saturday Night. Garcia has been overlooked for a long time in the stacked junior welterweight division, but a few serendipitous events granted him the opportunity to make a statement, and he took full advantage. Despite a slow start, Garcia took his extremely annoying father’s advice and timed Khan with a big shot in the third round that had Khan doing The Zab Judah for the remainder of the fight. We knew Khan’s chin had been dented in the past, but no one expected this, and that’s what’s great about boxing.

Best Performance: Kenny Bayless
We usually only bring up referees when they have a negative impact on the outcome of a fight, but we should commend Bayless for a picture perfect performance in the Khan-Garcia fight. He was always in position to call fouls, and never put his hands on either fighter unnecessarily, electing to call out his instructions instead of intruding on the tempo of the fight. Most importantly, at a critical point in the fight, when Amir Khan was no longer able to defend himself, Bayless saved the young fighter from taking any more punishment. Bayless should be held as an example for all other referees and should have our respect for handling the fight in a professional and humane manner for as long as it lasted.

Most Admirable: Amir Khan
Despite the setback he suffered on Saturday, Amir Khan remains a gifted fighter and as Max Kellerman said on the HBO broadcast he “makes the decisions we wished other fighters made.” Khan reminds me of Terry Norris, or Tommy Hearns. While he’s not nearly as talented as either one of those all-time greats, he possesses the same desire to fight the best, and most dangerous fighters in their divisions while they’re at their best and most dangerous, and because of his flaws he has paid for it in the ring. Khan has the talent to coast through most fights, and even after the knockout, I, like many observers, believe that if he had stuck and moved (and moved and moved and moved and moved) using his amateurish style, Khan could have beaten Garcia handily. Instead he went after Garcia with everything he had from the opening bell and paid for it. While we could pile criticism on Khan for the loss, we have to admire his courage and his fighting spirit, especially in the fourth round where Khan tore into Garcia like a tiger despite standing on wobbly legs and taking a tremendous beating. Khan’s bravado is rare at the elite level in this era of boxing, and it should be celebrated, even if it outweighs his punch resistance.

Most Irritating: Angel Garcia’s Instructions
I’ve heard trainers scream, shout and implore their fighters to action, but Garcia’s whining was particularly grating. Garcia said “please Danny” so many times I halfway expected him to pull out a greasy paper bag of cheeseburgers. Whatever works I guess.

Best Haiku Inspiration: Danny Garcia’s Wardrobe
The Philly Fighter
Eye and Trunks of the Tiger
Scores Huge Upset Win

Most Intriguing: The Future
The junior welterweight division has been stacked for the last few years, and even with the departures of Timothy Bradley, Devon Alexander and Marcos Maidana and the uncertain place of the recently-disgraced Lamont Peterson, the division remains stacked. Looking ahead for Danny Garcia, we see a flawed and still-unproven champion with a host of worthy challengers who will either provide us with new divisional shake-ups or give Garcia the chance to cement his star status. Match-ups between Garcia and Lucas Matthysse, Zab Judah, Mike Alvarado, Juan Manuel Marquez and even a rematch with Erik Morales all look attractive right now and I’m certain Garcia would be game to challenge himself against the best in his division. Khan’s future is more uncertain but just as intriguing. He shouldn’t retire as Carl Froch advised, but how does he rebuild and against who? It’s not in his character to seek out soft touches but he could use a few easy assignments. Khan might be the most athletic fighter in his division, so he still has great potential to create a Hall of Fame career the way Norris and Hearns did.

Best Humblebrag: Danny Garcia
“It must be the green eyes…they underestimate me because I look like a pretty boy but I’m a killer.”

Most Overrated: Freddie Roach
Freddie Roach is probably the only boxing trainer that most casual sports fans could name. He’s also the most decorated trainer of the last decade with four BWAA Trainer of the Year awards to his name to go along with his Hall of Fame induction. He ranks just behind “Mercury,” “Mac,” and “Prinze Jr.” behind famous Freddie’s according to Google. That said, 2012 is following 2011 as one of the worst years on record for his stable of fighters: Manny Pacquiao was dethroned in a controversial decision that could have been avoided if Roach was able to convince the gun-shy Filipino to go for the kill; the incredibly talented Jorge Linares was TKO’d twice and his future in the sport remains uncertain; Lateef Kayode couldn’t get past an aged and faded Antonio Tarver; Vanes Martirosyan has wavered in limbo looking for a breakthrough; Danny Jacobs was struck by a serious illness and may never fight again; and now Khan takes the most devastating loss of his career. Not all of these setbacks have been Roach’s fault, but there seems to be a disturbing trend coming out of his Wild Card gym. Khan, Linares, and Pacquiao have all displayed the same lax defensive attitudes and have all been upset by opposition they regarded lightly but rushing in with unrestrained confidence. If Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. comes up short against Sergio Martinez—and he likely will—the Wild Card stable would be 3-6-1 in big fights since last fall, not exactly a “great” record.

Most Underrated: The Heavyweight Division
Conventional wisdom would tell you that a division that has two clear frontrunners who will never fight each other couldn’t be described as “stacked,” however the dog days of the heavyweight division will probably be over soon whether the Klitschkos retire or not. Bubbling under the Klitschkos you have fighters like Tomasz Adamek, Malik Scott, Chris Arreola, Alexander Povetkin, Robert Helenius, Seth Mitchell and Tyson Fury who can be put together in any combination to create exciting fights. This past weekend we got David Haye vs. Dereck Chisora, and even though the fight was fairly one-sided, it gave us more moments of excitement than we’ve been used to from a highly publicized heavyweight fight. The fact that we had a big time fight in the heavyweight division that didn’t involve either Klitschko is also an accomplishment we shouldn’t take for granted. I think given a few years, the heavyweight division will be extremely stacked, and as they say “as go the heavyweights, so goes boxing.”

Most Appreciated: Real Bad Blood
Dereck Chisora didn’t throw nearly enough punches in his fight against Haye, but there was a genuine sense of tension and animosity from the opening bell of their clash this weekend. We’ve seen the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Chad Dawson berate their opposition in HBO specials before turning in picture perfect (read: boring) technical performances so many times that it’s easy to be skeptical about a fighter’s emotional investment in a particular fight. From Chisora’s first-round bodyslam attempt, to the trash talk that happened between rounds, it was refreshing to see two fighters who didn’t like each other actually act like they didn’t like each other.

Worst Priorities: Michael Buffer
Two hot young champions squared off in Vegas for a lineal title, and you’re out in London announcing a bout that spawned from a press conference brawl?

Most Perplexing: The Economy of Boxing
It says a lot about how boxing works that after losing four of his last five fights Dereck Chisora is still seen as a viable prospect in his division, while a single conclusive loss in four years has other fighters calling for Amir Khan’s retirement.
It doesn’t make sense, but that’s boxing.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Amir Khan Vs Danny Garcia Full Fight (Full Match) 15-07-2012 ( 15 Jul 2012 ) P1

Amir Khan Vs Danny Garcia Fight Knock-out (Full Match) 15-07-2012 ( 15 Jul 2012 ) P2

David Haye vs Dereck Chisora - Full Fight - 14th July 2012

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  1. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo 08:54am, 07/17/2012

    Sr. Mapondera-Great round up and spot on re: Khan….talk about fighting instincts(heart)....he was semi-conscious yet was still was trying to take Garcia’s head off!  Strictly from the standpoint of a fan, I appreciate his actions as opposed to those of survivalists, who when hurt literally tackle their opponents and flop aroung the ring to avoid being kayoed!

  2. Pete The Sneak 04:44am, 07/17/2012

    Khan retire? Don’t think so. The kid has too much moxy and pride to go out that way. After a few weeks off and he gets back in the gym, he’ll be his usual cocky self and come up with some new found reason for why he lost to Garcia and tell everyone that he has corrected his mistakes. Always happens that way. Watch. As for Freddie Roach, well Stephen’Breadman’ Edwards over at Boxingtalk.com made a good, albeit probably controversial statement concerning his training skills. Edwards says that Freddie’s illness has him “deteriorating physically and it’s affecting his ability to correspond with his fighters.” As cold as that sounds, I have to agree with that up to a certain extent. Freddie can hardly be understood in the corner and I know that he saw Khan making mistakes but didn’t exort him at any time to try and correct them. Still, the man is all over the place and continues to work hard. Everything, unfortunately, may be catching up to Freddie. Peace.

  3. Bk Don 07:58pm, 07/16/2012

    Really enjoyed this piece. Think there were some compelling facts listed that I was unaware of. Knew that roach wasn’t having a good yr but didn’t realize it was that bad. Though I do agree the hw division will make for more interesting fights once the kilt’s are gone, i don’t think any of the young fighters will ever put together careers like they did. I wonder if the sport is better off for having a more competitive hw division but one lacking two of great talents like the kilt’s. I guess we’ll see shortly. I don’t think Buffer made the wrong decision going to london though. Really? 30,000 plus passionate Brits to see two of their own duke it out, despite the rain, vs a casino crowd of about 7,000 - 8,000 (at most) to see a guy from London battle a guy from Philly.. seems like a no brainer for me. Buffer prob made more bank as well.

  4. raxman 04:28pm, 07/16/2012

    i’m loving these upsets - i have a betting rule - anytime a fighter is more than 4-1 i get on board for a $50 or $100 depending on how the weekends sports betting is going - the term punchers chance was born of this sport and of late- bradley, lopez (at 9-1 thankyou victor - who i started the rule on when he was 4-1 vs berto) and now garcia have all done the right thing by me. but of course the theory broke down on tony thompson but when fighting a klit i only bet $20 coz hey, there are 2 horse races and then there are 1 horse and 1 donkey races.

  5. procopy 04:19pm, 07/16/2012

    this may be a devastating loss for Khan, but it is not his first. i remember many years ago, he was bombed out by a relatively unknown Breidis Prescott on just the first round. Khan has this tendency to be demolished by underdogs. Either they were so lucky or Khan has just a glass jaw.

  6. the thresher 04:15pm, 07/16/2012

    “four BWAA Trainer of the Year awards” Hmmmm

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